Saturday, July 27, 2013

Junk/Antique Shop

Have you heard the phrase, "One man's junk is another man's treasure"?  Well, the owner of Tong Mern Sern Antiques, Arts, & Crafts, Ken Ah Tong has a twist to that phrase.

On a banner in front of his Craig Road store, his words of wisdom are , "We buy junk, and sell antiques. Some fools sell, some fools buy".

I was walking around the Duxton Hill area and ran across a fellow kitty named Minki.
Minki is a beautiful black cat with bright green eyes. To be honest, she is not real smart. When I approached her she was laying in a flower pot "hiding" behind a very slender stalk of a plant. However, she nicely offered to walk me through her neighborhood.

Minki told me there was a very interesting place a block away that she wanted to show me. We quietly approached an old building. When the proprietor of the antique store was not looking, we slipped into his 3 story shop. She was right! This place was fascinating! Every nook and cranny from floor to ceiling was packed with musical instruments, statues, furniture, clocks, nautical equipment, slot machines, paintings, posters, glass wear, tools and all other kinds of bric-a-brac.




Minki told me Mr. Ah Tong had been running his unique store for 40 years. Besides buying and selling, he also repairs and restores customer's treasures in his upstairs work shop.

I hated to leave but I was getting hungry. Minki knew just where to go for some roasted duck, her favorite food. She took me to a hawker in the Maxwell food center, located just a few blocks away. The kindly gentleman operating the stall placed a bowl of sumptuous, freshly cooked, duck in front of us. We gobbled up every greasy morsel.

Minki was getting tired and wanted to get back to her nap. I needed to get back on my bus to hurry home so we bid each other farewell. I had a fun day and a great meal. It doesn't get any better than

Friday, July 19, 2013

My Trip To A Monastery

On a very cloudy day, I hopped off my bus in front of Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery. It is very impressive in size as well as in beauty. It is the largest Buddhist temple in Singapore. It's website states, " You are welcome here to follow the steps of many before you as they have used this temple for education, healing, study, rest and refuge as they have had need."

The site was founded in1921 and currently consists of 5 major buildings with more under construction. The largest building is the Hall of No Form which houses a 13.8 meter (45 ft) high


As I wandered through the entrance gate I was awestruck with the beauty of the place.
There were not many people on site so I was able to ignore the "no pets" sign as I normally do. I know those signs are not really meant for me, a clean, pretty, intelligent, sophisticated  kitty. I think they are meant for dirty, ugly, dumb, mean dogs... Why don't the signs just say "No Dogs"? ( Maybe I need to calm down and follow the peaceful precepts of Buddhism.)


I really did like the atmosphere at this monastery. The well manicured landscaping between buildings gave the entire site a park like setting.

 One of the areas had a number of small child like statues of of mini Buddhas. I was especially struck by the one that had a rat on the child's shoulder and leg. The Rat in the Chinese calendar represents ingenuity, intelligence, and independence.

As I sauntered into a shady area between buildings, a very nice lady was serving people free bowls of noodle and vegetable soup. She must be a cat lover because when no one was looking she slipped me a bowl. I lapped up the warm broth with great gusto!

I hated to leave but it was time to go. On my way out, a gardener saw me and stated, "I am happy you came to visit this peaceful place and graced us with your presence."
Wow! What an impression that made on me! Everyone should make a point to visit this wonderful place.  


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wetlands Reserve in Singapore

I fell asleep on the bus that I had roamed onto and traveled really far from my home. When I awoke, I jumped off in front of a wetland reserve called Sungei Buloh.  As I entered the park I passed a sign saying, "No Pets." I figured, since my parents weren't with me, I was not technically a pet at that time...I was just a small, wild cat!

This place was great fun but a little spooky. I slipped past the entrance gate passing a small freshwater pond teaming with turtles and two big monitor lizards.
I walked across a bridge and stepped on to a gravel path that led through a salt water marsh. The path was shaded by thick, green bushes and trees of numerous varieties, some of which were covered with beautiful flowers.

As I started down the path, I came upon a smallish, 2 ft long, monitor lizard who raised his head and just stared at me. His gaze startled me and the fur on my back instinctively shot up! After a few tense seconds we both calmed down and he apologized for shocking me. He told me he had never seen a bright orange cat before and then introduced himself as Larry...yes, Larry the lizard... I told him my name was Purrla and wondered if he could show me around his park.

Larry loved being a tour guide. He was younger than all the huge lizards we saw so felt honored to be asked to share his knowledge of the reserve. As we walked along, Larry expounded on all the sites we passed. We saw tree climbing crabs, puffer birds, herons, dragon flies, and spiders.

We gingerly stepped out into the marshland on a creaky dock and heard a loud splash! Larry explained that the noise was probably caused by a school of small fish being chased by a larger predator fish of maybe even an alligator! That pronouncement scared me so I ran back to the trail and waited for Larry to join me. He laughed at me for being such a scaredy cat.

As we approached the entrance/exit of the park we spotted a family of three Hornbills.
Seeing them was probably the highlight of my excursion. They were so beautiful!

Larry was hoping I could stay longer as there was so much more he wanted to show me. However when I told him I had to get home before my parents discovered I was out of the condo, he understood.

On the long bus trip home I had time to reflect on my day. Everyone thinks of Singapore as a huge concrete jungle but don't realize there are some areas of natural beauty that still remain to be enjoyed.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Hindu Temple

I seem to be drawn to Little India for some reason. It is such an exotic area. On my third bus trip to this wonderful place I followed a lady in a beautiful Sari. The walk we took was long but it was well worth it.


We ended up at her temple called Sri Thendayuthapani. The temple is also known as Chettiar's  Hindu Temple as well as Tank Road Temple. It was absolutely beautiful and amazingly intricate in it's design.

As she entered, she removed her sandals. I, of course, did not have to remove anything because I was bare pawed. The pretty lady went to pray as I wandered around trying to remain undetected.

I was amazed that the inside of this place of worship was just as beautiful as the outside. There were 3 dimensional depictions of all sorts of heavenly figures throughout the building. Some of these gods looked like multi armed people and others appeared to be animals. Tourists are encouraged to enter to see the beauty but as non believers, they are discouraged from going beyond a certain point.

It was time to leave. As I headed back to my bus stop I meandered through the tiny Istana Park which is full of lovely flowers. It reminded me that humans can paint and sculpt beautiful things but nothing matches God's ability to create the beauty of flowers.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hakka Cemetery

Not far from my home I found a very interesting cemetery with approximately 3000 monuments, most of which are identical in size. The smaller ones are covered in small white tiles. 33 are slightly larger, and more ornate. There are also a few offering altars interspersed on the grounds. The grave site is nestled among some high rise buildings and hidden behind a car dealership in the Commonwealth area.

My new friend Ah Kun, the groundskeeper, gave me a tour of this serene place called Ying Fo Fui Kun Cemetery. He is a dog lover but told me I was such a pretty kitty he didn't mind spending time with me.

According to The Straits Times, December 21, 2012 By: Janice Tai And Melody Zaccheus, "The site is the last Chinese, Hakka Clan cemetery in Singapore and takes up about 5 acres. Urns of the deceased were moved here from other sites in the 1960's. They are housed in a building next to the monuments. Sadly there is talk that the cemetery may be demolished in the near future to make room for more housing construction".

Lam Pin Foo writes in the July/August 2013 edition of Passage Magazine, that the Hakkas " Who number between 40 and 50 million, live in seven of southern China's provinces, yet comprise less than 5% of the population." Despite their low numbers, many have become very influential military and political leaders. "Among their overseas descendants is Singapore's first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew.  

I hated to leave this historical site as Mr. Ah was such a nice gentleman. However his dogs (luckily behind a chain link fence) were barking up a storm and driving me crazy.